Over 10 civil society and private organisations on Monday addressed a letter to the government asking for the Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) to conduct its proceedings more transparently by opening up its consultation process to the public at large. The CDCL was formed in February to draft a law that would address competition issues in the technology industry; the Competition Commission of India Act was last amended in 2007.
“The CDCL reportedly held consultations with various industry stakeholders but once again various civil society organisations including the signatories of this letter were not invited by the CDCL to present their views,” the Consumer Unity & Trust Society, the India Internet Foundation, and local chapters of the non-profit Internet Society said in the letter, which included individual signatories in academia and private firms.
The letter was addressed to Manoj Govil, Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), which formed the CDCL. “We are concerned that the proposed Digital Competition Act would impact a wide range of subjects, such as digital inclusivity, user experience, data protection and security, foreign investment, cost of doing digital business for MSMEs, indirect impact on cost for consumers, etc,” the letter said.
“We urge the MCA to institute a transparent and open consultative public engagement process for the Draft Digital Competition Bill and take into consideration the concerns around impact of the Draft Digital Competition Bill on end consumers and small businesses which rely on ICT tools,” the letter added, asking that comments received in response to a consultation be made publicly available.